RM Williams Centre at Eidsvold not North Burnett council's core business

Sally Gall
By Sally Gall
Updated April 12 2022 - 11:55am, first published April 7 2022 - 2:00am
The interior of the centre, one of Eidsvold's main tourist attractions. Picture supplied.

The North Burnett Regional Council is open to the sale, lease or repurposing of the Reginald Murray Williams Australian Bush Learning Centre at Eidsvold.

This news comes in the wake of a decision at the council's general meeting from May 2021 to call for expressions of interest to determine the centre's future.

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Mayor Les Hotz said the council was still of the opinion that the centre was not part of council's core business and that its service may be better delivered by another entity.

Through an EOI process, it hopes to gather interest on the potential for its lease or sale, and to conduct engagement to gather community sentiment on the future of the centre.

If the 'right' proposal for sale, lease or change of purpose, that had community benefits, was received, then that option may be pursued.

"As part of the EOI we'd like interested parties to share their proposal information to best help us assess your plans," Cr Hotz said. "This might be your business case, strategies or future ideas for the centre."

Councillors will review submissions received and consider any proposals submitted and their implications on council's corporate plan and financial sustainability.

"There are endless business opportunities to expand and advance the cultural offering, workshops, entertainment, hospitality and events at the centre," Cr Hotz said.

"With tourism in the North Burnett and drive tourism across Queensland remaining strong throughout the pandemic, now is the time to submit your EOI and capitalise on the potential of an existing attraction and facility."

The centre was built to honour bushman RM Williams and pay tribute to the bush skills and culture that the bush was founded upon.

Visitors have access to RM Williams' story, bush skills and indigenous artifacts, and can view the Dot Hamilton cattle exhibition and occasionally take part in a leathercraft workshop or demonstration.

The centre also has a modern gallery space and exhibits many local and travelling artists, and its Son et Lumiere outdoor Light and Sound Show has received art tourism accolades.

Eidsvold is where RM Williams chose to settle after leaving South Australia in the 1950s, and a grave on the nearby property Rockybar is his final resting place.

The EOI was released to the public on Monday and will remain open until Tuesday, May 3.

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Sally Gall

Sally Gall

Senior journalist - Queensland Country Life/North Queensland Register

Based at Blackall, CW Qld, where I've raised a family, run Merino sheep and beef cattle, and helped develop a region - its history, tourism, education and communications.

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